‘My F1 reforms are better than his’

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia

Here at TJ13, we are circumspect when claims are made and take particular notice as to the individual’s track record of truth and honesty.

However, remarkable as it may seem, there are times in life when history suggests that assertions made by certain F1 individuals should be taken at face value.

The matter becomes more complex when distant planets align – once in a millennium – and two unreliable F1 sources appear to be ‘behaving out of type’ – and both telling the truth.

So, some say… Paddy Lowe is the master of taking things that work perfectly well and conspiring to find a way to disrupt the successful order that has been established, for no particular reason.

Then we have, Monsieur Boullier, who may have earned a bit of a reputation for delivering pronouncements, which later prove to be on the fantastical end of the reality spectrum.

Judge as ye will

Eric the believable, who for the record gave us the Ijaz Mansoor line, ‘the cheques in the post’, has been revealing the changes HE has made since joining MacHonda.

Boullier claims his top down review of McLaren F1 operations McLaren has delivered a leaner and more efficient organisational structure.

“At every level of the company, there is clear leadership. We agree the direction we want to pursue, and we bring people with us. The attitude has changed from ‘telling’ people, to ‘asking’ people; we’ve integrated people, and we share opinions and ideas”.

This hardly reflects well on the previous regime overseen by Paddy Lowe.

Boullier continues, “The main outcome of that new approach is that people now have a sense of ownership in the car. And they’re more motivated and interested as a result.

To give you an example, I guess about 50 per cent of the upgrades we brought to the track last year didn’t completely work; this year, we’ve brought that down to about five or 10 per cent.”

Paddy of course jumped ship and moved to Mercedes and he says, I’ve taken Mercedes Formula 1 team to the next level.” Presumable beyond where Ross Brawn had managed.

The question is, how did Paddy suddenly deliver this new Mercedes Eutopia, when Eric clearly says he left McLaren in a shit state of affairs.

Only time will tell, which of these protagonists is in ‘reality-landia’.

If MacHonda make a surge towards the head of the field by the second half of this season, we may surmise Eric has talents beyond being the stooge sent forth to convince the public that black is white.

Conversely, should the precision oiled Mercedes operation Brawn built which was uber dominant in 2014, begin to creak at the seams; then we may conclude that a man named Paddy, does not have what it takes.

23 responses to “‘My F1 reforms are better than his’

  1. Paddy Lowe and Eric Boullier both have big manufacturers in Mercedes and Honda that are involved in their teams. The manufacturers will help ensure that both gentlemen have the resources they need to run successful operations because they have the Mercedes and Honda brands attached to them.

  2. Blaming Paddy for the state of affairs at McLaren seems a bit of a stretch. He was never the team principal and was on gardening leave from early 2013. If anyone should carry the can for McLarens woes it should be Martin Whitmarsh – if ever there was an example of the Peter Principle, then that would be it.

    • Exactly. I think that Paddy will always get blamed more than he should for what happened at McLaren.

    • Paddy was responsible for pushing for the re-design of the McLaren for 2013 (admittedly, rubber-stamped under Whitmarsh’s authority) by going with the pull-rod suspension design. As soon as he borked the car, he refused to revert to previous year’s design, and then left Woking for Brackley. This brought Ron Dennis back in, who hacked Whitmarsh’s head for his indiscretions, and McLaren went for re-re-design of the suspension going back to push-rod (supposedly under Goss). Borking McLaren’s speedy 2012 challenger was very much Lowe’s doing, and the two following years can be directly attributed to that.

      Some of my thoughts on the matter:

      • Toto had already approached Paddy to join Williams, but when Toto took over at Mercedes, he went there instead. So he didn’t running to the hills so as to avoid ‘the torches’. McLaren also employed a policy of letting someone else design the cars, (I’m not sure if it was for every season or every 2nd season).

        He became technical director in 2011, were he stayed before he left. So why is it that he’s being blamed for the 2013 car its subsequent successors and not given credit for the 2012 car?

        Let’s stop making the guy as someone who destroys anything he touches, because he has had a lot of or been apart of a lot of the success at Williams and McLaren.

        And is it that inconceivable that he actually did go into Mercedes and made improvements in areas that ‘Saint Ross’ could’ve overlooked?

      • @landroni
        Hang on a sec’ – I was commenting on the article; which says that, according to Boullier, there is now a new caring sharing culture within McLaren and a clear leadership structure. I felt blaming Paddy for the previous leadership issues was a bit strong bearing in mind he was not the man in charge (the leader) – that was Whitmarsh. You may or may not be right so far as design issues are concerned – who knows – but that isn’t what was being discussed in the article.

  3. I like the interesting approach to this McLaren story, though the critiques by C63 and KRB may have merit.

    Something else that is interesting about this article, besides the difference of successful improvement of the car from new part from 50% last year to 90% this season), is who McLaren PR featured in this interview.

    If one goes to mclaren.com/formula1/team/management/ , we see eight leading members of the McLaren F1 team. In displayed order they are:
    1) Boullier – Racing Director
    2) J. Neale – COO & acting CEO
    3) N. Oatley – Director of Design and Development Programmes (wtf?!)
    4) T. Goss – Technical Director (was he responsible for the crap last season?)
    5) S. Roberts – Operations Director
    6) M. Morris – Director of Engineering
    7) D. Redding – Team Manager
    8) P. Prodromou – Chief Engineer

    McLaren’s PR dept chose three for this interview titled “The Road Ahead”. Of these eight characters, which three were featured?

    Well already know Boullier was featured. The other two people did not include McLaren’s “Director of Design and Development Programmes (great title, Oatley must have a fabulous paycheck), nor the Technical Director.

    Instead they chose to include Matt Morris, Director of Engineering, and the last listed on their team page, Mr. Prodromou, Chief Engineer.

    Despite the silliness of Lotus in 2013 when Lotus’ owners, Genii, allowed themselves to be suckered by an untrustworthy suitor, Boullier was highly rated inside the paddock, so not so surprising to see changes at McLaren since he has arrived. But perhaps it’s not coincidental that the arrival of Mr. Prodromou at MTC coincides almost exactly with incredible improvements in performance by the MP4-29, and now the MP4-30. The MP4-30 is lovely design, (though it’s still saddled with a crap rear suspension design due to the long lead time of trannys). The MP4-31 could well be dominant if Honda comes close to being competitive.

    Great interview worth reading over at mclaren.com/formula1/inside-the-mtc/ , (and I’m a Williams fan, not a McLaren fan).

  4. Paddy was managing engineer at McLaren, its more likely he left because the TP was messing with his engineering budget an resources in an attempt to turn the sows ear Button into a silk purse. A bit unfair to directly attribute these results to him, For example the disastrous decision to produce a new design for the 28 with lower front and ‘smooth’ driver friendly suspension instead of evolve the 27.
    The W06 is more reliable than the W05 so already Paddy could rightly claim to have added something or some sort to the process left by Ross

      • Well if you compare it to the first 4 races of last season, then he’s correct, it is more reliable. They’ve finished all the races so far.

        • Is that because they are better at spotting a potential fault and make the necessary steps to ensure as many points as possible are recovered or is the car actually better quality?

          • either way, Paddy would still be right to claim to have added to the process left by Ross

          • If you’re referring to the issue in Bahrain, then I’d suggest you read Toto’s comments on the issue.

          • Based on this definition, I’d say he does have some involvement with the engine….

            “The Technical Director of a formula one team would be in-charge of all aspects of the car that have anything to do with performance and integrity of the cars: How much the car should weigh, the power output the engines should rev up, the protrusions (spoilers, side skirts, front and rear wings) and everything else about the car except the sponsor logos and the paint.”

      • yes @Fortis is correct in that the claim of W06 already more reliable is based on quantifiable data from FOM
        After the 4th race in 2014 both drivers had used a 2nd set of most components
        In 2015 only Lewis has used a second component – control electronics
        However Lewis the driver said after Jerez that he was very impressed with the reliability of the W06 and added to the component usage and 100% race completion surely its reasonable to assume that the W06 is indeed more reliable than the W05
        We would need some contrary evidence before deeming it ‘arguable’ IMHO

  5. An article with an interesting perspective. Surely there is a flaw though, it’s much easier for a team at the bottom to get better results in the future than for a team getting 1-2’s to do better? Of course McLaren will improve more than Mercedes, mostly since Mercedes can’t really improve on a 1-2?

    • Good point – yet Merc are already more reliable than the start of 2014 and have not lost relative performance achievement to last years Merc engined customers, meaning that once we discount engine performance, then the Merc team itself must have at least improved its management of the technical side – of which Paddy is in charge of
      In fact if he didnt have such a punchable face we might take him seriously that he has brought a little something to add to Ross Brawns baseline

      • If there is a chink in Mercedes armour I would say it’s the race tactics side of things. Paddy Lowe may have improved the technical side of the team, but there is a Ross Brawn shaped hole on the pitwall in terms of the tactics and controlling the drivers with authority and reacting to a resurgent Ferrari. Not the “Can you please do as we say, pretty please Lewis/Nico” and late setup changes that compromise the brake cooling leading to a failure on both cars.

        I think the bigger test for Mercedes as a team, will be when Ferrari and co really start to catch up with them. Either Mercedes are on a relentless drive to find more speed or they are coasting with the power unit advantage while assuming the planned upgrades will extend that advantage further. It will be interesting to see which path Mercedes have opted to take.

        • I think as the season moves along that decisions on the pitwall will be made using the “what is best for Mercedes as a team” mindset. The drivers are ultimately employees of Mercedes-Benz. The consequences of the late changes that were made and how they effected the car during the GP will have been analyzed thoroughly by the time the team is in Barcelona. If a firmer tone is needed with Nico or Lewis, I would expect it to be done behind closed doors not over the radio so that if a situation presents itself where decisions need to be made during a GP to protect Mercedes’s interests; Nico and Lewis will know why it’s being done and what’s expected of them in the situation.

          I expect Mercedes to have a “pedal to the floor” mentality for the rest of the season in order to stay at the front. They know that the battle is on with Ferrari and I expect them to work hard in every aspect in order to come out on top.

          • It remains to be seen if anyone on the Mercedes pitwall has the same kind of authority that Ross Brawn had at the team (on the evidence of last season, doesn’t look it until a race is over and the drivers are behind closed doors). While it’s a team effort, Brawn was always good at making a decision about what to do as a race evolved.

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